9-07-2022. TALK #4: Home learning support experience; practices that are helping Children continue learning at home while schools are open
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RADIO TALK SHOW #4 – 9th/07/2022
MODERATOR: I want to welcome all our listeners to 90.6 Busoga FM, Omwoyo gwa Busoga, its Saturday 9th July 2022, its 1 minute past 2:00pm, I want to thank you sir and madam who is listening in from different parts of the regions in Busoga especially form districts like Bugiri, Luuka, Mayuge, Kaliro, Iganga plus those other districts in Uganda that receive this radio stations’ airwaves, I am Balondemu Simon, the moderator or host of the show, I work with Global Integrated Skills Development Centre (GIST) found in Iganga and Bugweri plus other districts districts, we work towards ensuring the education of both the boy and girl child, reach out in schools, counsel and spread awareness about HIV/AIDs, I want to thank ELEVATE, the partners of education which is Non-Government Organization which boosts the education sector in the Busoga Region because they are our financial sponsors who ensure we have this talk show our guests in the studio madam Abenakyo Scovia, a parent from Bukatabira and Mr. Mukisa Derrick a Walulere primary school teacher , to this talk show concerning the education of our children since it was affected by the lockdown, the previous show was about the abridged curriculum which helps both teachers and parents, it helps children remember or rekindle the love for studying, tries to cover the gap that affected children because of the closure of schools for a period of 2 years, the abridged curriculum is good but teachers are finding it hard to cope and apply it since they were not given enough time for training because head teachers were trained for only 3 days, the text books are in scarcity at schools, and others. Parents called in and claimed they don’t understand the new curriculum, so I was just reminding our dear listeners what transpired in the previous show. Let me get back to the guests in the studio today.
Madam Abenakyo Scovia, let me start with you.
ABENAKYO SCOVIA: Yes moderator.
MODERATOR: For two years both parents and teachers were not at school but in those conditions of the lockdown, those memories are still fresh in our minds, the government and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) emphasized and talked about motivating the children to study and also advised the parents to look for ways to educate their children, parents also complied by providing books and textbooks for their children to read and revise, battery cells so that children can study over the radio, employed teachers to privately attend to their children at home plus older children helped their younger ones with their studies, and others, but remember our theme is, do children still study at home as it was, even though school re-opened and what measures are in place to maintain the status quo?
So, madam Scovia are you a parent?
ABENAKYO SCOVIA: Of course, I am a parent.
MODERATOR: How many children do you have?
ABENAKYO SCOVIA: I have five children.
MODERATOR: Among the five, how many of those are in lower section?
ABENAKYO SCOVIA: 2 are in lower classes, one is in P.1 and the other has just started attending nursery school.
MODERATOR: What about the rest?
ABENAKYO SCOVIA: One is in P.3 and the other one in P.6.
MODERATOR: That’s wonderful, thank you for doing such a wonderful job of taking all of them to school but what measures were you taking to ensure they study at home during the lockdown?
ABENAKYO SCOVIA: I first bought charts and was using them as learning aids at home basically for reading, I would tell the older ones to bring their notebooks so that we revise together in order for them not to forget, I would do this every day most especially in cases or during the time of day after chores or when they would be idle or unoccupied and I am grateful that by the time schools re-opened and went back, they were not too rusty as compared to the others who were not attended to.
MODERATOR: So that’s how you handled them, keeping them busy while at home but did you apply any other methods?
ABENAKYO SCOVIA: We also used the radio; I would buy battery cells and put them in the radio so that they would attend the “on radio live classes” on a daily basis, after the classes, I would join in and continue from where the teachers over the radio had stopped.
MODERATOR: Okay, but now from a parent’s perspective, do you think these methods of studying at home are still necessary and going on, or have they stopped since schools re-opened?
ABENAKYO SCOVIA: I firmly believe they are still important because children went back when their brains were still blunt or not yet sharpened enough plus the existence of homework makes studying at home completely necessary because it’s when you get to help the children in case they find the work challenging.
MODERATOR: In fact that’s what I was going to talk about since nowadays children are given a lot of assessments and work to take back home, so how do you manage to spare time for helping them since you must also balance your own time for doing chores and other home activities?
ABENAKYO SCOVIA: On a daily basis, I make sure that I finish doing chores at 9:00 pm, that’s when I am free and can help them with their assessment and homework since these days their attention spans are not like they were before the lockdown, so you supervise them as they do the homework because they tend to fill in the wrong answers if they didn’t understand the subject matter in class, that’s where you come in and help them with the correct answers.
MODERATOR: But isn’t that cheating for them since the child may get everything correct when the teacher marks the homework and cause a problem when it comes to assessing the trend in the child’s progress because the homework results may not reflect the results in the classroom quizzes, tests and others?
ABENAKYO SCOVIA: Not really, simply because you tell them to write after you explain to them the answer in detail about the subject matter so that they don’t get that particular question wrong again in the near future plus the child can also explain to the teacher(s) that my parents helped me with my homework in order not to disrupt the teachers’ assessment of that particular child.
MODERATOR: So you can boldly come out and confirm that the method of helping the children study at home is helpful and necessary to the parents, teachers, and the children at large.
ABENAKYO SCOVIA: Yes I can because the child sometimes comes home and openly tells you they didn’t understand a particular subject matter the teacher was teaching at school, so the child may understand the subject matter from you the parent than the teacher sometimes.
MODERATOR: Okay, those methods you applied really worked for as a parent, but what other methods did you observe from other parents, in case you noticed or observed any.
ABENAKYO SCOVIA: As a parent, those methods helped and still help both me and my children, but some parents don’t help their children at home completely, so I cannot say that I have observed any but all I can say is that any parent who is helping their children at home, it’s a good step that will enable them go forward plus their children’ performance will continue improving.
MODERATOR: So how should these parents help their children as a way forward?
ABENAKYO SCOVIA: Despite that these children have teachers at school, that’s not enough, and I would like to advise my fellow women or mothers to take the initiative to help their children because in most cases, men or fathers don’t have time for these children by checking the children’s books as a step to start helping them improve because such children who receive help from parents at home improve very fast which gives the parents satisfaction and motivation to pay school fees because of the assurance that the money is not wasted.
MODERATOR: I would like to intervene and say that not all men or fathers neglect their children, some actually have time for and help their children study at home.
ABENAKYO SCOVIA: Yes I know some do, but in most cases, they claim they are so busy and when they retire from work in the evening claim to be too tired, but we women always find a way of creating time, most especially the housewives because even when you leave the garden, in that time when you are resting, you can help out one of your children which is not the same with men who leave home to go and look for money.
MODERATOR: Yes that’s true but I don’t want us to deviate or meander away so far from the topic, but all those issues you are airing out are absolutely true in helping the children. But besides that issue of helping them at home as a way of also helping the teachers, what other ways and methods do other parents use?
ABENAKYO SCOVIA: Okay, I have observed some parents still using the radio by tuning in and providing battery cells for their children because there is good content in the lessons overs the radio, others provide study chats.
MODERATOR: I thought the program of lessons over the radios stopped since the re-opening of schools and the lockdown.
ABENAKYO SCOVIA: No, the program is still ongoing from 2:00 pm
MODERATOR: Okay, that’s wonderful and encouraging; I want to thank madam Abenakyo Scovia for the amazing views and information shared with all of us here in the studio and those listening at home, let me now turn to Mr. Mukisa Derrick.
We noticed that during the lockdown and closure of schools, some teachers were giving an extra hand to children by providing study materials and visiting the children in their homes, giving them work using the internet for those who had access, we did some research in February of this year 2022 and we discovered that the children who still listened to the radio and watch television lessons were 0.33% at that time and those who were revising notes that were given to them by their teachers were 0.30%, the older children who were helping their younger siblings were 0.29%, the children who were coached by teachers in their homes were 0.24% and the children who were using the study materials provided by the Ministry of Education and Sports were 0.11%, this percentage is really low.
Which makes me pose this question to you as a teacher, what methods were you using to help children during the lockdown when schools were closed and children were at home?
MUKISA DERRICK: Thank you for this opportunity, I used to pass through the villages and would notice that the children were playing all the time; I would sit with the parents and advise them not to let their children play all the time but expose them to study materials, some listened and implemented my advice and others deliberately refused or failed.
I also helped those parents who approached me and asked that I help teach their children which I did at my home, would also go to parents’ homes and help their children, for those parents whose children were in the upper classes like P.6, I would advise them to buy newspapers because they contained the contents and assessments tests from the Ministry of Education and Sports, I would tell their children to attempt those tests so that we would go through and make corrections on a particular day that I would visit a particular home.
I would find some of them idle in the villages and I would counsel them not to give in to worldly temptations, not to resort to immorality, crime, and indiscipline, since it was becoming a trend during the lockdown as evidenced by early pregnancies, told the boys to at least spend their time working as helpers on the construction sites to get some money instead of vices like theft, becoming conmen and encouraged them not to give up on school, give them methods or ways to effectively study while at home.
MODERATOR: Okay, I understand you’re a teacher, but of which level?
MUKISA DERRICK: I am a transitional teacher as in I teach P.4 and P.6 and P.7.
MODERATOR: So you don’t attend or teach the lower classes!
MUKISA DERRICK: Well, if you are a primary teacher, you are supposed to be able to teach all classes but those are the ones I handle at the moment.
MODERATOR: Were you only selectively helping or targeting the children you teach or the children in the village in general?
MUKISA DERRICK: I was not helping pupils of Walulere primary school only but children of the whole community at large.
MODERATOR: Okay, during the lockdown and closure of schools, you said you helped children study at home, advised their parents to buy study materials for their children, advised them to buy newspapers to access the tests from the Ministry of Education and Sports but now that schools re-opened, do you still think it’s necessary for children to continue studying at home?
MUKISA DERRICK: That method is still necessary because when I was also growing long ago, whenever I would leave school for home in the evening, the first thing my guardians would first ask for my exercise book so that they could see what I wrote that particular day and they ensured that during the checking you were standing very close to that person opening the book in case they needed to correct or add something to what you wrote or what the teacher wrote on the blackboard which helps the parents, teachers and children themselves go forward.
MODERATOR: So you as the teachers, how are you linking up with parents to ensure that the method of teaching or helping children with studies at home is maintained to improve performance?
MUKISA DERRICK: We talk and advise the parents to reduce the children’s workload when they go back home because some parents overwork their children and are too tough and aggressive when treating their children but should reduce the workload in order to provide enough time for their children to also study. In most cases when a child comes to school and tells us that he/she didn’t get enough time to do the homework, and we as teachers understand and we don’t shout back or resort to punishment because we know how some parents treat their children at home.
MODERATOR: Do you just assume or directly ask the children?
MUKISA DERRICK: No, we ask the children directly in order to find out why the work is not done because we after words visit the child’s home to find out if the child’s allegations are true and where necessary, do ask the parents to reduce the workload because if the teacher overloads the child with work at school and the parent does the same at home, the child is at a disadvantage because since they had just returned to school after the lockdown, their brains have not yet been turned back, so they need to be handled delicately with care which in turn greatly helps the children.
MODERATOR: Besides visiting these parents, are there any strong commitment, cooperation and understanding that you have with these parents?
MUKISA DERRICK: Yes, we do have it at Walulere Primary School.
MODERATOR: How is it, help throw some light on it?
MUKISA DERRICK: We call for meetings, invite the parents and interact directly with them because they are some issues that need the direct involvement of parents because if you just go and impose a resolution on them without consulting and discussing with them on a round table, they distance themselves from the school and look at the administration as dictators which is not good for the growth and development of both the school and their children.
MODERATOR: Walulere Primary School is lucky because you have parents who attend meetings when called upon, we have hosted some head teachers who claim their parents don’t turn up for meetings when called upon but your parents are really encouraging.
MUKISA DERRICK: Well I cannot say that they are 100% perfect because most attend and some don’t like madam Scovia said, men left the responsibility of attending to children and meetings to their wives which is portrayed in the turn up in meetings, where women turn up more than men. But I want to advise the men listening in right now that the responsibility of bringing up a child is done by 2 people, so they should find time and attend these meetings for the benefit of their children.
MODERATOR: Let me ask you this before we go for a short commercial break, do you think the method of children studying at home and being helped by their parents can be maintained for a long period of time now that schools re-opened?
MUKISA DERRICK: That system or method is very good and should be maintained, a child performs better when he/she is receiving help, encouragement and motivation from the parents than from the teachers only because these children listen and respect their parents more that the teachers.
SHORT COMMERCIAL BREAK
MODERATOR: Now that we have listened to views by a parent and a teacher in the studio, we now want to hear from you the listener who will call in and give your opinion on the subject matter or theme of todays’ show, you can call us on the following numbers 0776 999 906 and 0757 906 906.
BRIAN (LOST DUE TO POOR NETWORK)
MWISE KAMOOME BUDALA NSIRIRA (WENT OFF DUE TO LOW AIRTIME)
IGEMBE DISON FROM NAMUKOOGE BUYENDE: I want to thank you for the great show, and for giving time to talk about the wellbeing of our children, I will just go ahead and encourage my fellow parents that we should be very keen and straightforward when handling our children when a child leaves school in the evening, take time to ask the child what he/she studied at school that day, attend meetings when we are required to do so because it’s when you get the chance to discuss, share and get solutions about many issues concerning you child or children.
MODERATOR: Thank you Mr. Igembe, let’s get another caller
BARBRA FROM NAMUNKANAGA NAMUNGALWE: I just want to thank you for the amazing job you are doing.
MODERATOR: Madam Barbra, please give us an insight of how you are handling the children at home!
BARBRA FROM NAMUNKANAGA NAMUNGALWE: When the child comes home you check the book to single out his/her weaknesses, talk to his/her teacher plus help him/her with homework and assessments at home.
MODERATOR: So that’s how you are handling the situation by sticking to the methods that were applied during the lockdown.
BARBRA FROM NAMUNKANAGA NAMUNGALWE: Yes, we are, you just can’t let your child’s performance decline yet we are paying a lot of money for them to receive an education, so you give a helping hand to ensure good grades and results.
MODERATOR: Okay thank you Barbra for calling, let’s have our next caller
OYU FROM KAMULI: That system affected the parents; I know this because I am also a student.
MODERATOR: Which class are you?
OYU FROM KAMULI: Senior 2, my parents didn’t have money to enable me to study during the lockdown so I just sat idly and wasted away in the village.
MODERATOR: So what did you do when schools re-opened?
OYU FROM KAMULI: Schools re-opened but my parents still failed to get money.
MODERATOR: So did you drop out?
OYU FROM KAMULI: No I still study but my parents gave up on my education, I just hustle and pay school fees and facilitation for myself.
MODERATOR: Okay, you keep struggling slowly to ensure that you don’t drop out.
OYU FROM KAMULI: I am doing my very best but the problem is attaining the money for school fees.
MODERATOR: Don’t worry the Lord will provide.
NAMUKOSE HARRIET IN NAMWENDWA: I am just requesting my fellow parents to keep helping their children as we used to during the lockdown even though schools re-opened because the abridged curriculum has brought many problems like the government teachers not being well conversant with it, so we should help our children at home for good grades.
MODERATOR: I want to thank madam Namukose, let me turn my attention to Mr, Mukisa Derrick, some of the callers including madam Namukose insist teachers are not conversant with the abridged and new curriculum, what can you say about that?
MR.MUKISA DERRICK: She specifically pointed out the government teachers not being conversant with the abridged curriculum yet I am also a government teacher, this issue is mainly in the villages, teachers had created different small-scale business ventures in the lockdown, now schools re-opened, these teachers also returned but they are not yet fully focused on teaching wholeheartedly because even when in class, they think about their small scale businesses that were a source of daily income, which affects their performance in class and are just adapting but I am encouraging all my comrades in the profession (government teachers) to focus our attention to teaching wholeheartedly because despite that we may be working under mediocre circumstances, it’s the profession we chose and the government pays us for it, the Lord will guide and provide for us.
MODERATOR: Amen, those are Mr. Mukisa Derrick’s words of encouragement to his fellow comrades in the profession who have not yet returned to their professions wholeheartedly.
Madam Abenakyo Scovia, before I receive any more phone calls, is there any caller who captured your attention and you would want to add on or point out?
MADAM ABENAKYO SCOVIA: The callers have all good points and opinions and it’s really encouraging that they are all on the same track as I am doing when it comes to helping their children at home so I want to thank them.
MODERATOR: Okay let’s receive like three callers and hear what they have to say.
SULAH FROM KALIRO: My question is, for example, I have children of my own who aren’t old enough and haven’t started going to school but the teacher said they tend to go home and visit the parents and children, there are some cases of some teachers who tend to flirt and woo some children for themselves, is the teacher in the studio capable of such an act?
MODERATOR: Mr. Mukisa, you’ll answer that question later on.
ARAPHA YASIN FROM MATOVU: I just want to appreciate you for the good work done.
MODERATOR: How are you Mr. Arapha, helping your child at home when he/she comes home from school?
ARAPHA YASIN FROM MATOVU: When my children leave school and reach home, the first thing I do is ask for their books so that I can check whether they have homework or not.
MODERATOR: How many children do you have?
ARAPHA YASIN FROM MATOVU: I have two.
MODERATOR: Which classes are they?
ARAPHA YASIN FROM MATOVU: One is in P.5 and the other one in P.7.
SIMBWA, TEACHER FROM NOGWE BUIKWE: I want to tell you that parents of this side are not serious; parents have played a very big role in the decline of their children’s performance, parents even let their children at 9:00 pm in night and their parents open for them.
MODERATOR: 9:00am in the morning or 9:00 pm at night, which time of day exactly?
SIMBWA: In the night, the second thing, you find 12-year-old girls with boyfriends, same case with the boys, so we end up teaching our fellow old (young) children with lovers, parents know these vices that eat up their children but they don’t speak up or tell us the teachers and these cases are commonly found in government schools.
MODERATOR: So I want you to give out advice from that particular angle.
SIMBWA: I want to encourage parents to get the time and talk to their children and follow them up because now day’s children pretend to be humble at home yet when they go out to like trading centers and towns, they show their true colors, parents should also give a time limit by which a child has to be home, they should also provide scholastic materials for their children to avoid theft and other mischievous deeds that arise from scarcity or lack of scholastic materials.
KAZIBA SADAT FROM BUBENGE : We the male parents should stop neglecting our responsibilities and leaving them to only women and stop giving excuses when it comes to matters concerning our children for example we tend to come home with stresses from work, impose anger on the mothers who may also impose anger on the children which creates a difficult and not study friendly environment hence poor results.
MODERATOR: I am left with a few minutes so I want to give you starting Abenakyo Scovia a chance to reflect on what the callers have said or shared with us in one minute.
ABENAKYO SCOVIA: I want to thank you for the opportunity, I want to thank my fellow parents for helping and encouraging our children to study at home, and they should not lose heart but continue helping and encouraging them for the better of our children’s futures.
One caller has mentioned that children in his area come back home at 9:00 pm in the night, I want to call upon my fellow women to take that matter seriously and look for ways to put these children back in line by counseling and talking to them seriously if they come back when the male parent is sleeping, the female parent is supposed to ask them where they have been and vice versa.
There is no way a 12-year-old can knock on my door at 9:00 pm and I also open the door and welcome you with open arms without posing some serious questions, another has said that children are fond of using big vulgar words at school, parents should ensure that they watch their children’s diction or choice of words starting from home because if a child utters vulgar words at home and the parent doesn’t stop them, the child will assume the word is okay and will feel free to use it school and it becomes hard for the teachers to stop that child because the child assumes since “I use this word at home and I am not warned” then why is the teacher trying to stop me.
MODERATOR: Mr. Mukisa Derrick, Sula has posed a question when you continuously visit the parents and children at home, isn’t it possible for you to develop a need to woo and con these children?
MR.MUKISA DERRICK: I said clearly that we used to visit to see and check on the progress of our children during the lockdown and still do even after schools re-opened but I am against the idea of teachers wooing and coning the children they do teach.
MODERATOR: So what precautionary measures do you take when visiting the children you teach at home?
- MUKISA DERRICK: When visiting, I ensure that either one or both of the parents are home during that time and that I sit with the child in the presence of all the children, young ones and old ones because if you only attend to the older ones, it may raise some questions and speak in a loud tone to ensure the parents hear everything I am telling or discussing with the child.
MODERATOR: Conclude by commenting on Mr. Simbwa’s views because he is also a teacher like you.
- MUKISA DERRICK: His issue is countrywide because even in my area of residence, you find very small girls at around 9:00 pm in the night wondering carelessly but I also want to put the blame on parents for creating small businesses like selling bananas, roasting maize, and end up sending these children, especially girls to centers at night which exposes them to all sorts of problems along the way. So, I want to advise parents not to engage their children in such ventures which will cause problems but instead create time and space for them to study at home or if unavoidable out a time limit for example if it reaches 6:30 pm without finishing the stock, the child should retire back home and hopefully sell the remainder of the stock the following day.
Plus these small businesses expose these children to money which may lead to children being corrupted by the power of money hence the development of vices like theft.
MODERATOR: Okay I want you to send greetings to 2 people as we close the show
- MUKISA DERRICK: I want to send greetings and thank the staff of Walulere primary school, thank my head teacher madam Waganya Harriet, all our dear parents for entrusting us with their children and lastly my wife back home.
MODERATOR: Madam Abenakyo, send some greetings, and say a few last words as we conclude the talk show.
ABENAKYO SCOVIA: I want to send a greeting to the head teacher of the school that my children go to, Mr. Kisolo Aaron, I thank you for being a good teacher and words of encouragement that you give to our children, mama Yoweri, and encourage parents to keep safeguarding their children as their first priority because the teacher at school cannot put measures to safeguard your child yet you are not doing it as a parent.
MR.MUKISA DERRICK: I want to encourage and advise parents to bring their children back to school because some haven’t ever since schools were re-opened, I am both a parent and a teacher, I know rumors are spreading that teachers are not there but I am assuring parents that we teachers are at school waiting for their children in order for them to have bright futures.
MODERATOR: I want to thank our guests in the studio, our listeners, and more especially those who have called in and shared with us, as I conclude the talk show, our theme has been “ways, benefits and methods to continue and maintain helping our children study at home”, I also want to thank our sponsors, Elevate partners of education for their continued financial support, other No-Government organizations that we work with from Luuka, Mayuge, Bugiri, Kaliro, and other districts. I also want to thank all those who were with me when I lost my dad the late Bananwa Samwiri who was laid to rest on the 20th in Butiki, my friends in the central market and I want to remind our listeners that we have these talk shows every after two weeks, the next show will be hosted by madam Brenda so they should tune for the benefit our children because whenever we host the show, we make sure we bring different people who play a big role in the education of our children like the teachers, head teachers and many others.
I also want to advise our dear parents to utilize the available resources to boost the education of their children. Let me send greetings to my mother madam Namisango Cissy in Magamaga, my wife and children who are listening in right now, Balondemu Pauline and your friends who are also listening in.
You can reach us on our website or media pages of Elevate Partners for education on www.Elevate.org., Elevate partners of education on Facebook and twitter @elevateug.
Till next time, keep it “Busoga One, Omwoyo gwa Busoga”